"Standing at the edge of the landing field, Tongh watched two
passengers leap from the hydrogen-cell copter, their heads covered
in supplication to its gale-like wind. He recognized the lanky hop
of his young employee Elsa, who escorted a slightly stooping older
man. As the passengers approached, Tongh alternated glances between
their stumbling forms and the rectangular concrete hulk of a data
center that stood behind him in the morning fog. Its eight stories,
blocking out the hills and forest behind them, remained dark except
for a wan green light over the steel door.
"The moment the passengers’ coats came down from their
faces, he fumed. When they came within hearing he hissed at Elsa,
“What did you do with him? He’s supposed to be
"“But he refused, Tongh,” said Elsa tremulously.
“You said it was extremely urgent to get him here, so I
thought I should bring him anyway.”
"“You thought! No one except employees and international
police are supposed to know the location of data centers.
It’s the highest breach of discipline to—”
"“Could you chill?” grumbled the older man, still
uncreaking his limbs from the copter ride. His wide face,
dissolving into straggly gray hair, was smeared by a thick white
moustache. “If this contract is one big excuse for venting,
I’ll head out now.”